I’ve been ridiculously busy for the last couple of months, paid work took a back seat and I put maximum efforts into a small part of helping to organise the 8th Australian Wildlife Rehabilitation Conference here in Townsville. It was the first time the bi-annual conference has been held in a regional centre and wildlife carers flew in from every state in the country attending the four day event to listen to presenters renown throughout Australia for their expertise in wildlife rehabilitation as well as learn and network with other carers.
Our Townsville wildlife volunteer team of conference organisers pulled off an outstanding event and we had wonderful feedback from the 200+ delegates attending. Not only did I learn about things I didn’t even know I needed to know, but I met some absolutely lovely people.
Apart from that I’ve discovered that I have a new talent. It all started when I tried to get an artist to paint a picture of Chablis for me, this is the dog of my heart, who died over three years ago. He did such an awful rendition that I thought I might try to do something better. Then I started looking at my kangaroo photographs and wondered if there was a more artistic way to portray them. Two years later a couple of my friends suggested that they might be good enough to sell. Yeah right, I thought. As the conference approached I was encouraged to pull my stuff together, book a trade table and have a bash at selling my wares. Eventually, the day dawned for the conference, I packed my prints together with a good book to read whilst I sat behind my trade table with an absolute conviction no one else would think the prints any good. Oh boy oh boy, was I in for a surprise………
The first morning, before I could finish unpacking my box of prints I had sold NINE! Unbelievable………..by the afternoon break I had sold out of my stock. You have to keep in mind, I’ve actually never sold anything before, or had a trade table. I was absolutely hopeless, I’m sure startled deer show a lot more initiative than I managed to show the four days I was there. I stood there stressed out of my head, trying to cope with lots of questions, feebly attempting to enjoy conversations with some lovely carers, handing out change and wondering how I was going to get more prints at such short notice. That day I managed to perform ‘Bridget Jones’ type scenarios, that I’d never accomplished at any other time in my long professional career as an engineer. In one instance I walked around the hotel conference foyer with a great big trailing length of toilet paper stuck to the bottom of my shoe.
THEN…. Oh my god, oh my god even worse……… I walked to my trade table with the hem of my skirt tucked into its waistband. At the time I was talking my printer, Elissa to order more copies and blurted out over the phone in a panic what I'd just discovered as I was sharply ducked behind my easel to pull everything out to its proper place. Would you believe I was originally headed off towards the coffee and biscuits being handed out for morning break. It was only the breezy sensation going on around my hindquarters that alerted me that something was slightly amiss. I keep imagining........(sweating at 2am in the morning) me drinking coffee and eating biscuits with my jockey undies on show (SEE! not M&S therefore I must be an honorary Australian). I've spent all these years just thinking that stuffing skirts into undies was a made up scenario and that no one ever really did it. Talk about wake up call...........Phew! NOW what do I have to look forward to? Farting in public?
Despite all that, I’ve decided that I might like to progress this new talent of mine, doesn’t matter that I’ve found it a bit late in life, doesn’t matter I won’t be able to give up my day job. What matters is that it touched a few of the wildlife carer hearts that bought my work. I was astounded by some of the reactions to my pictures and loved the stories they told me of their orphan babies. A bit like that advert for … is it master card or access? PRICELESS.
There are some special people out there my friends, and their love and dedication for ‘our’ Aussie wildlife is absolutely boundless, they put me to shame. I am so very honoured that they loved my Aussie Critter wildlife prints and it made all the stress, all the embarrassment and those four sleepless nights totally worthwhile.
Samantha "I'm a person who feels I live in paradise and truly love Australia after immigrating here in 2003. I work as a foreign exchange trader, live with my true soul mate, husband Albert. I have a passion for Aussie wildlife and became a registered wildlife carer in 2005 and can say I feel truly privileged to be able to raise and rehabilitate orphan wallaby/kangaroo joeys. I love these creatures with my heart and soul. My dream is to be able to help struggling volunteer wildlife carers, financially, so that they can do what they do best without worrying how to pay the next vet bill"
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